Breaking down silos and creating a more humanistic network where people can interact
Since the 1900s, we have been conditioned to look at systems as machines rather than designing them in a way that humans can interact with each other to make every link in the supply chain more meaningful. Ed McKnab believes new organizational architectures that break down silos by encouraging collaboration and communication are necessary for success as we push forward in the 21st century.
With the need for supply chain collaboration at an all-time high, Ed McKnab sees the topic of silo-based organizational architecture as a discussion that should be pursued primarily because silos tend to hinder innovation. Ed believes new organizational structures are a prerequisite for expanding into the 21st century, and that organizations need to think differently about how they interface with both suppliers and customers. The goal, he says, is to enable collaboration on a much deeper and more effective level.
Over the years, Ed McKnab says, we have turned everything we do into a "mechanistic concept." We view factories as large machines and we view the people within factories as machines. We have designed the work that they do to be moving a widget from point A to point B. Since the 1900s, we have been conditioned to look at systems as machines, rather than designing them in a way that humans can interact with each other and make it more meaningful. "I think that we have to transcend this concept of looking at everything like a machine, and we have to design systems that allow people to complement machines to take this out of a mechanistic environment and move it to a more humanistic environment," he added. That, he says, is what makes is what makes silos difficult to work with, because when everyone is trained to work within their own silo, they are not comfortable stepping outside of it and interacting one-on-one with people.
The first step is redesigning our organizations and looking at the way we interrelate with each other much differently. Organizational leadership also plays a vital role in breaking down silos and creating a more humanistic network where people can interact. If we can accomplish this redesign, Ed McKnab said, it will have a big impact.
Software too, he added, has forced us into silos and put limits on the way we interact and collaborate. "From a shared information perspective," Ed McKnab said, "we have to rethink how we design software and what happens to that software once installed inside an organization. So, not only do we need to see organizational change, we need to see changes in the tools we use to manage those organizations, particularly the software.”
About Ed McKnab:
Ed McKnab has a doctorate in organizational leadership and his consulting practice is focused on designing global supply chain and the distribution networks that tie into them. His career has been focused on expanding global businesses within the international community.
In the early part of his career Ed McKnab worked as purchasing manager in Japan and Taiwan, before moving to China in the early 80s to develop and establish the region as a sourcing target. Over the years, he has worked with a number of companies, including Black & Decker during which time he assisted them in moving their global supply chain from manufacturing in the United States to manufacturing in Europe and Asia as part of their expansion plan.
LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/edwardknab